By Marck Hensch
May 2, 2017 - A former coal industry worker plans to challenge West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) in 2018.
Bo Copley announced his intentions Tuesday, exactly one year after gaining attention for confronting Hillary Clinton over her past remarks about shrinking the coal industry.
“It’s what God’s telling me to do,” he said about his Senate bid to Yahoo News.
“With everything that has happened over the past year, with all of the attention we have received, with all of the people saying, ‘We really appreciate you representing us,’ we thought maybe people want someone to represent them who understands what they’re going through.”
Copley, 40, said he is filing some of the preliminary paperwork necessary for launching a Senate campaign next year.
The former maintenance planner and fill-in foreman would need to win West Virginia’s Republican primary before potentially unseating Manchin.
Tuesday’s announcement comes one year after Copley emotionally confronted Clinton during a campaign roundtable in Williamson, W.Va.
“I just want you to know: How can you say you’re going to put a lot of coal miners out of jobs and then come in here and tell us you’re going to be our friend?” he asked Clinton, then the Democratic presidential frontrunner.
“I want my family to know that they have a future in this state because it is a great state,” Copley added, while handing Clinton a photograph of his loved ones.
Clinton angered the coal industry in March 2016 by talking about putting it out of business.
“We’re going to put a lot of companies and coal miners out of business,” she said while calling for “clean, renewable energy.”
Clinton said during May 2016 encounter with Copley that she made “a misstatement” about her energy plans.
Manchin is a top target of Republicans after President Trump bested Clinton by a resounding 42 points in West Virginia on Election Night.
Copley said Manchin’s support of Clinton during the 2016 race “showed that he has lost touch with his constituents."